Hudler was playing with guys like Draper and Maltby. Give Filppula those linemates, and see what it does to his PPG. And btw, Hudler scored more at even strength than on the power play. He also scored more at even strength than Teemu Selanne, who had the same number of power play points. Hudler and Selanne played comparable total time on ice in each situation. Does this make Hudler a comparable player to Teemu Selanne in offensive capability? His offensive numbers in all situations were very similar in 2008-09.
Hudler actually seemed to play with the likes of Filppula and Samuelsson for most of last season. He even got the occasional shift with Z and Mule.
The simple facts are, Hudler was always a threat to score, and produced a ton of offense for the Wings in 08-09. Filppula has been OK offensively, but has never been as much of an offensive powerhouse for the Wings, in terms of creating offense on his own out of nothing, playmaking ability, or simply finishing skills. Stats can be manipulated to show whatever you want, but Filppula is not as good offensively as Hudler, and has not been.
Well, not after the Anaheim series last year. He pretty much disappeared after that point. And unlike Filppula, if Hudler's not scoring, he's not doing much else to help the team. You could even call him a liability defensively.
If Hudler were given the top-six scoring role he deserved, he'd be a 70 or 80 point player. Add 40% to his ES production in 08-09 to give him 1st/2nd line type ES time, and he gets another 11 points. That's a 68 point winger-assuming his point production isn't increased further by better players. Certainly worth $2.875m.
That's too much extrapolation. Hudler had a few opportunities on the top two lines, but always seemed to produce more when on the lower lines. Even though I thought Babcock often didn't give Hudler much of a chance, I can't say I blame him. Playing on the third and fourth lines, Hudler didn't have to match up against the other team's top defensemen. Additionally, he wouldn't have to help contain the top opposing forwards. Despite Hudler's world-class stickhandling, shot and offensive instincts, his lack of size and decent skating ability were too great to be placed on the top two lines.
Really, Hudler is more or less a powerplay specialist and lower line point producer. He's not dynamic enough a player to carry a team on his back. From your post, I know you'll disagree, but even Filppula has a better chance of developing into a player that can, as Babcock is fond of saying, "drive the bus" here.
Edited by AIK'91, 17 March 2010 - 04:00 PM.